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Open AccessArticle

Exploring Molecular Signs of Sex in the Marine Diatom Skeletonema marinoi

1
Integrative Marine Ecology, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Villa Comunale, 80121 Naples, Italy
2
Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Box 461, SE 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden
3
Clinical Genomics Göteborg, SciLifeLab, Medicinaregatan 1G, 413 90 Göteborg, Sweden
4
Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre, Box 461, SE 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden
5
Biological Oceanography, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde, Seestraße 15, 18119 Rostock, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2019, 10(7), 494; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10070494
Received: 6 May 2019 / Revised: 14 June 2019 / Accepted: 24 June 2019 / Published: 28 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of Phytoplankton)
Sexual reproduction plays a fundamental role in diatom life cycles. It contributes to increasing genetic diversity through meiotic recombination and also represents the phase where large-sized cells are produced to counteract the cell size reduction process that characterizes these microalgae. With the aim to identify genes linked to the sexual phase of the centric planktonic diatom Skeletonema marinoi, we carried out an RNA-seq experiment comparing the expression level of transcripts in sexualized cells with that of large cells not competent for sex. A set of genes involved in meiosis were found upregulated. Despite the fact that flagellate gametes were observed in the sample, we did not detect the expression of genes involved in the synthesis of flagella that were upregulated during sexual reproduction in another centric diatom. A comparison with the set of genes changing during the first phases of sexual reproduction of the pennate diatom Pseudo-nitzschia multistriata revealed the existence of commonalities, including the strong upregulation of genes with an unknown function that we named Sex Induced Genes (SIG). Our results further broadened the panel of genes that can be used as a marker for sexual reproduction of diatoms, crucial for the interpretation of metatranscriptomic datasets. View Full-Text
Keywords: diatom; sexual reproduction; Skeletonema marinoi; transcriptomics; meiosis; flagella; sex induced genes (SIG) diatom; sexual reproduction; Skeletonema marinoi; transcriptomics; meiosis; flagella; sex induced genes (SIG)
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Ferrante, M.I.; Entrambasaguas, L.; Johansson, M.; Töpel, M.; Kremp, A.; Montresor, M.; Godhe, A. Exploring Molecular Signs of Sex in the Marine Diatom Skeletonema marinoi. Genes 2019, 10, 494.

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